Playing a musical icon as revered as Elvis Presley is a both a daunting and physically demanding task for an actor, but Austin Butler was up for the challenge. While discussing filming of the Baz Luhrmann-directed Elvis biopic in an interview with GQ published on Wednesday (May 25), the actor and star of the movie revealed that once he finished the film, his health took a turn for the worse.
The movie wrapped in March of 2021, and Butler shared that the work had taken a major toll on his body. “The next day I woke up at four in the morning with excruciating pain, and I was rushed to the hospital,” he told the magazine, explaining that he was later diagnosed with a virus that had symptoms similar to appendicitis, which left him bedridden for a week. “My body just started shutting down the day after I finished Elvis.”
The 30-year-old also opened about his hopes for the biopic in a new profile with The New York Times.“I want everybody to love the film, obviously, but the pressure I have really felt is doing justice to Elvis … Humanizing him,” Butler said. “Adding to his legacy and maybe, hopefully, even reclaiming some of his legacy.” The star also shared that the response he received for his role in the film from Presley’s daughter Lisa Marie “brought me to tears.”
Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic premieres at France’s Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, and is scheduled to arrive in theaters worldwide on June 24. The biopic’s soundtrack — which currently had no release date as of yet — will feature recordings by Butler himself, as well as Eminem, Doja Cat, Jack White, Kacey Musgraves and more.
Revisit the trailer for Elvis below.